January 1, 2013 (Vol. 33, No. 1)
Strong Points: Customized periodic table for X-ray spectroscopy
Weak Points: Table omits basic information like atomic weights
Despite the fact that there exist a number of periodic table apps, the Oxford Instruments Periodic Table provides a unique (albeit commercial) take on the traditional periodic table by emphasizing each element’s X-ray lines and energies, two characteristics used in X-ray spectroscopy to identify the presence of particular elements. While the app does not fail to incorporate a commercial aspect to the app, highlighting the particular Oxford Instruments products that can be used to detect each element, this feature is neither distracting nor detrimental to the app as a whole. (The greater flaw of the app is that it omits the atomic weights from the periodic table, thereby limiting the table’s use strictly to X-ray spectroscopy.) Explaining why particular equipment detects certain elements but not others, rather than simply providing the technical specs, would also improve the app.